By T. Roble
The European Union (EU) Tuesday announced a €200 million aid package to Somalia as donors meeting in Brussels sounded upbeat about the country’s recovery process while urging sustained international support.
Addressing the Somali Partnership Forum which concluded Tuesday in Brussels, EU Commission Vice President Federica Mogherini unveiled the new aid support to Somalia in addition to a further €114.2 million for the Africa Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
“Today, I announced that the EU will provide additional €200 million to support Somalia’s overall stabilisation to create a better future for its people,” said Mogherini. “I also signed the EU’s contribution of €114.2 million for the African Union Mission to Somalia until the end of this year.”
Mogherini said the funds will be geared towards strengthening Somalia’s political, economic and security reform agenda noting Somalia’s stability was crucial for the stability of the broader region and for Europe.
In a communique following the two days conference which brought together leaders and representatives from close to 60 countries, the international partners hailed Somalia for its efforts towards recovery. The partners singled out progress in the country’s path towards debt relief, economic and public financial management reform and efforts made towards transitioning from Amisom to Somali Security Forces. Notable also, the partners said was Somalia’s preparation for universal suffrage in 2020 by enacting key legislative pieces, inclusive political processes and constitutional review process.
The partners however noted the need for sustained international funding to cushion the country from sliding back especially in light of continued droughts and floods and the threat of the extremist groups in the country.
President Mohamed Farmaajo assured the partners of his government’s commitment to delivering on key areas such as the one-person-one-vote elections in 2020, security and economic reform.
“The Federal Government of Somalia is fully committed to implement the Political Roadmap 2020, Transition plan for security, economic reform and reach out to the whole of Somalia for reconciliation and dialogue,” Farmaajo said. “The Somalia Partnership Forum is key for strengthened partnerships with our regional and international partners. We want to work according to the theme of the forum – forward together.”
President Farmaajo added Somalia was on course to rejoining regional blocs such as the World Trade Organisation and the Common Markets for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) to leverage on economic opportunities to boost the country’s trade prospects.
“We have signed bilateral cooperation agreements with strategic partners. We are also working towards rejoining the World Trade Organization, COMESA, and assessing how we can benefit from further regional integration,” President Farmaajo said.
Sweden, which co-hosted the forum with the EU also pledged to increase its funding support to Somalia up to $350 million over the next five years.
The Forum was a follow-up to a similar one held in Mogadishu last December following the May 2017 London Conference.